Lamb of God – Omens (Album Review)

lamb of god - omens album review

Lamb of God – Omens
Released: October 7, 2022

Lineup:

Dr. Randall Blythe // vocals
Mark Morton // guitar
Willie Adler // guitar
John Campbell // bass
Art Cruz // drums

Online:

Official Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Lamb of God are pissed off. Like, really pissed off. You might ask why a band of their respectable standing and longevity are so angry, but unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, it’s pretty clear there’s plenty to be furious about in the last couple of years, particularly as the social system experiences the effect of poor health, education and welfare standards. Nine albums in and they’ve got plenty to say and a set of face-melting riffs to deliver their message. Mark Morton and Willie Adler remain the focal point of the attack with Randy Blythe the unique voice (both lyrically and in tone) at centre stage. With Art Cruz now well settled behind the drum kit, this is a recharged band that have taken on the odd experiment across their last three albums and decided to look the audience in the eye and remind them of what they can do when they put the foot down and flick the HEAVY button on the soundboard. 

The band forgo the longer introduction of prior albums so the opener ‘Nevermore’ engages the groove machine immediately. It’s a gnarly Morton/Adler riff that gives Randy plenty of room to scream over. He gets in some of his clean vocals, hardly a novelty anymore, though his distinct style of cleans remains a great contrast to his raspy scream as he declares, “This is a reckoning!” The added highlight is the killer solo from Morton that is air guitar worthy. ‘Vanishing’ is more classic LoG, a bit of groove before opening up mosh pits for a good thrashing on the verses and a great headbang along the chorus. ‘To The Grave’ is another one in the tradition of immediate and furious bangers, recalling ‘Hourglass’ and ‘As the Palaces Burn’, with a series of beastly riffs that could summon Cithlu if they weren’t pointed at the institutions that keep us bound. It has some very cool parts for John Campbell and Cruz too, who otherwise spend a fair bit of the album keeping the rhythm tight while the guitarists wail. 

Like their self-titled album, what makes Omens so powerful is that it successfully combines what Lamb of God does well, picking at the various threads of their sound and pushing it up to 11. There’s plenty of colossal hate, which fits the more hardcore-influenced songs to perfection. As he says on ‘Ditch’, Randy says “I don’t give a goddamn, about your demands!” It’s got that menacing Blythe spoken word part too, that makes the hair stand up on your neck. ‘Omens’ on the other hand has the sort of hook and streamlined riff that made the songs on Sacrament so memorable. It’s positively apocalyptic and leaves little doubt about the “rising apathy, growing everyday”. ‘Gomorrah’ is a slower, more deliberate tempo that suits the “everything is doomed to fail” mantra of the lyrics. The titles alone point to the bleakness of Blythe’s current worldview, but as anyone who has followed his Instagram can attest, he calls out bullshit when he sees it. However, there is a strong self-empowerment streak running through the record, challenging fans to step up and do something about the systemic failures around us. ‘Ill Design’ just slays, with another great solo, probably the one thing the album doesn’t have quite enough of. 

As noted, nine albums is now a lot of Lamb of God. Whilst they’re comfortable in their skin, some of the more melodic elements they had been playing with on Resolution, Sturm und Drang and the self-titled record are missing. There’s no denying the power of ‘Greyscale’, what a monster of a song, but they haven’t gone down the power(ful) ballad route since ‘Overlord’, content perhaps with playing to their traditional strengths. That said, ‘Denial Mechanism’ is a ferocious, thrashy thunderbolt that causes blood to pump at ‘wall of death’ levels. Like seriously, throw it on and start doing stomps around your lounge. Certainly be wary of other passengers if you’re listening on public transport. Fists will fly. ‘September Song’ starts with an almost Soulfly-esque melodic section with a cool lead and effects Morton rarely uses, but this quiet contemplation is broken by a piercing Randy scream and the groove machine is turned back on. Don’t interpret this as a slight on ‘September Song’, which is epic and will have you roaring along in no time. It has a fade out that gives Morton time to lay down some sick guitar work with keys backing he and Adler’s duel. A second fade out leads into a riff off built for headbanging, with synths and gang chanting. I dare say this will be a fan favourite that many will want to hear live. 

I’m not complaining about what it is here – it is frickin’ heavy and powerful – but I do miss the boundary-pushing they had been doing as a collective. I dare say you should ignore the score below, throw it on when it is released and decide for yourself. As a Lamb of God fan this is a killer record, showcasing what the band are known best for. It’s not going to convince those who aren’t in the congregation to convert to the Lamb of God flock. As one of the most prominent shepherds of American Heavy Metal, this is a damn fine album that is worth repeat spins. 

lamb of god - omens album

Lamb of God – Omens tracklisting:

1. Nevermore
2. Vanishing
3. To The Grave
4. Ditch
5. Omens
6. Gomorrah
7. Ill Designs
8. Grayscale
9. Denial Mechanism
10. September Song 

Rating: 8/10
Omens is released on October 7 by Nuclear Blast Records. Pre-order here
Review by KJ Draven (Twitter and Instagram

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